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Systemic abuse at Vienna youth home detailed

VIENNA — Children at a former city-run home in Vienna were rampantly abused, with some of them raped and subjected to other forms of sexual exploitation by caregivers and outsiders, an investigative commission said Wednesday.

The commission, in a 344-page report, also documented cases of physical and psychological abuse at the home from 1948 until it closed in 1977.

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The probe was commissioned in late 2011 after two sisters said they and the other 18 girls in their dormitory were regularly raped by groups of men. The sisters said the abuse began when they were 6 and 8 and ended in their early teens, when the institution was shut.

Other alleged victims, including males, subsequently came forward with testimonies of sexual, physical, and psychological mistreatment at the Schloss Wilhelminenberg home, now a hotel in a leafy outlying Vienna district.

Without assigning individual blame, the report concluded that municipal employees were aware of the widespread abuse but neglected to intervene. Municipal politicians who learned of them in the 1960s neglected the problem.

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